The Legacy of “The East”: An Analysis of a Case Experience in Independent Institution and Nation(alist) Building, 1969-1986
Kalonji Lasana Niamke
Thesis DT 3.5 1999 N533
x, 204 leaves; 29 cm.
This thesis examines the history, political struggles and social significance (to the community) of the EAST, a self-determining cultural-educational institution in Brooklyn, New York (1969-1986). The thesis explores the efforts of the EAST to build and sustain viable community-based institutions and businesses in the context of nation(alist) building. Nation building is defined here as the conscious and focused application of African people's collective resources, energies and knowledge to the task of liberating and developing the psychic and physical space that Africans identify as theirs. Nationalist in the sense that the EAST was a part of a continuum of Black nationalist thought and praxis and sought to build upon this tradition. The activities and challenges of the EAST experience in independent institution and nation(alist) building are explored through a social-historical case study of the institution and its cultural, educational and economic components.
Emerging after the Ocean Hill-Brownsville struggles for community control of schools, but during the Black Power and Consciousness era, the EAST was the direct result of the energies of skilled high school youth and the wisdom of a core group of committed adults. Through the collection of archival documents and thirty-two interviews of EAST members, the thesis uses both organizational and experiential data to describe and analyze the major themes, patterns and activities. The results of the EAST experience lies in the lessons provided and its impact as it relate to contributing to a methodology of institutional development and the process of nation(alist) building. The EAST no longer exists as an institution, but the institution lives in EAST members who constitute what is called the EAST family.